By John Schmeelk
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I can’t believe what I’m reading. The Magic are really going to trade the best (by far) center in the NBA for Brook Lopez, bad players, and three or four first round picks that will all be in the mid to late twenties? Is this really happening? Is there some kind of hallucinogen being pumped into the Magic front office? If this trade goes down, police officers should actually head to downtown Brooklyn and arrest Billy King for Grand Larceny.
For a moment let’s compare this to what other teams got for their stars in similar situations:
Carmelo Anthony trade: Raymond Felton (turned into Andre Miller), Danilo Gallinari (starter), Wilson Chandler (borderline starter), Timofey Mozgov (good backup center) and a 2014 first round pick.
Chris Paul trade #1: Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Lamar Odom and the Knicks 2012 1st Round Pick
Chris Paul trade #2: Eric Gordin, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Minny’s unprotected 2012 1st round pick
Deron Williams trade: Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and two first round picks (one turned out to be 3rd overall pick)
Are the Magic getting anything close to what those other teams that had to trade their star are getting? The answer is no.
Nets fans have been killing me on twitter, just going on and on about how great Brook Lopez is. He is a top offensive center but he is also perhaps the worst rebounding center in the NBA. He also broke his foot last year… twice. Ask Yao Ming and Bill Walton how tough foot injuries are for big men to recover from. The Magic will also have to commit to 15 million a year to him over four years, give or take. With those risks and at the dollar amount, Lopez is not a very attractive chip. That’s a fact.
The three or four picks the Magic get will all be in the late twenties and therefore of limited value. Teams can easily buy picks at that stage of the draft on a yearly basis. They are relatively easy to acquire. The pick the Nets traded for Gerald Wallace is far more valuable (6th overall) than any combination of picks in the late twenties. It actually isn’t a stretch to say that single pick is nearly as valuable as the entire package being offered to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard. DWIGHT HOWARD!
What makes this even more confusing is that apparently Orlando would rather have a draft pick than Marshon Brooks. I don’t Brooks is going to be a star, but he is certainly better than what most teams end up with picks in the twenties. Instead Orlando is forcing the Nets to trade him elsewhere to acquire another pick. It gets better: Orlando wouldn’t even get rid of Hedo Turkoglu’s contract in the trade: instead they trade Jason Richardson who is a far better player. It’s just very strange.
There are still snags that need to work out for this caper of the ages to go down: Kris Humphries has to agree to a one year deal with the Cavaliers. I don’t think he’ll do that since he should be able to get three years and 20 or million on the open market. If Humphries really wanted to be a jerk he could sign a contract with another teams and just blow up the entire trade. Nets fans would hate him even more than the Kardashians do.
Some other GM out there must be looking at this trade on paper and say to themselves: “Hold on a second, I can put together a package better than this.” Where are the Hawks? Where are the Mavericks? There are a dozen other teams that can do the same. Does no one really want Dwight Howard? Are they that scared he won’t resign with the team that will offer him the most money? With the Nets off the board as a free agent option, he HAS to sign somewhere else. Why not with the team that has his rights and can offer him the most cash?
If this trade goes down as it is described, Billy King should be handed the Executive of the Year award tomorrow. Nothing anyone else does could possibly compare to the crime of the century he is going to pull on the Magic. The Nets will vault into the upper echelon of NBA teams and could potentially challenge the Miami Heat. Of course, they will have to figure out how to fill out their roster, which will be extremely thin. But they will have the stars, and provide a true rival to the Knicks in the tri-state area. It would be one fun basketball season. If course, first I’ll have to lift my jaw up off the pavement. This thing is just too good to be true for the Nets.
I’ll continue to provide coverage of NBA free agency on twitter, and you can follow me at https://twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk